American Journal of Law & Medicine  |  March 1, 2023

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During the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials exercised their police powers to combat the spread of the virus. The pandemic-related legal interventions adopted throughout the United States included lockdown orders and mask mandates. However, these policies and interventions meant to promote the general welfare of the public, in defense of common good, were met with legal challenges, especially in opposition to interventions’ impact on the exercise of religion. This article provides a legal analysis of the policies meant to curb the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on legislative and judiciary actions and their implications for religious freedom. Ultimately, we hope this article will help inform future legal analyses on conflicts between public health and religious freedom in the context of pandemic legal preparedness efforts.

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